Saturday, August 10, 2013

Difference Between Fibromyalgia & Polymyalgia

Fibromyalgia and polymyalgia are both arthritis conditions that cause widespread pain. Though many of the symptoms are similar, the differences between the two are in the cause of the disease. Fibromyalgia is believed to be a result of a problem with the central nervous system, while polymyalgia is centered around the connective tissues and immune system.


    People with fibromyalgia have widespread muscle pain and "tender points" on various parts of the body. Many will also have problems such as sleep difficulties, IBS, headaches and cognitive issues. Polymyalgia also presents pain throughout the body, but there is more stiffness and flu-like symptoms.


    The only drug currently approved for fibromyalgia is Lyrica, but the condition is also treated with anti-depressants and painkillers. Since polymyalgia involves inflammation, it is often treated with non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). If the symptoms continue or become more severe, corticosteroids are prescribed.

Interesting Facts

    Fibromyalgia is found to occur in more than one member of the family, and the large majority of patients are women. Polymyalgia patients are rarely younger than 50; the average age when the condition presents itself is 70.

Time Frame

    Fibromyalgia is most often a permanent condition, though symptoms may improve for a period of time. Polymyalgia usually goes away completely, usually within a year or two.


    There is no danger of fatal complications from fibromyalgia. In a small percentage of patients, people with polymyalgia can develop giant cell arteritis, a dangerous condition that involves inflammation of the arteries that supply the head with blood.


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